Title: Protector
Author: jana5
Pairing: gen
Rating: PG-13
Series: 1) Ghost of a Chance
Summary: Who protects the Hunter? Will they get to him in time?


It had been two weeks since the Winchester men finally found and killed what they had been looking for, now Mary and Jessica's deaths were avenged.

"So Dad's off sorting out loose ends, what about you?" Dean didn't actually want to ask, but he knew he had to.

"I'll be packing my things and heading back." Sam replied flicking through the channels of the motel rooms t.v.

"Oh" Dean replied pursing his lips; disappointment in his voice as he looked round the room trying to find something to occupy his mind.

"Come on, you know I was going to." Sam reminded him.

"Yeah, I know, but we're all healed up, I thought you could stick around for a bit longer, hang out, you know have so fun!" Dean emphasized the word fun with a smile.

"I can't, I go back now and I can get straight back into it." Sam switched the television off and got up from the couch.

"Ok fine, go." Dean said matter of factly.


"Seriously dude, don't worry, go!" Dean gave no emotion in his words, he was about to lose his brother again and he didn't want to show how that made him feel.

"I'm going." Sam looked slightly puzzled at his brother; he knew he didn't want him to go but he thought he'd be okay with it by now.

"Good." Dean said leaving the room for the bathroom.

Sam felt a little uncomfortable before deciding that now was actually as good a time as any to begin packing his bag.

Dean splashed water over his face; his fear of being alone was becoming all too real. Breathing out with a sigh, he picked up a towel and slowly patted his face dry staring briefly into the mirror.

Sam was almost done when Dean finally came back out "you okay?" he asked.

"Sure, why wouldn't I be?" Dean tried to answer with enthusiasm.

"I'm nearly done, there's a bus, I'll erm, I'll be leaving soon." Sam said unsure of his brothers reaction "I'll ring you"

"Cool." Dean nodded, as Sam packed the last of his possessions.

"Guess this is it then."

"Guess so." The brothers shared a brief hug, patting each other on the back as they did so.

"See ya." Sam threw his bag over his shoulder and headed for the door.

"Bye geek boy, don't let the door hit your butt on the way out." Dean smirked before he jumped onto the couch and reached for the remote.

Sam smiled, looking at his brother knowing he had to leave but he'd hope that somehow the parting would be different.

"Bye Dean." Sam said as he walked out.

"See ya Sammy." Dean winked from his seat as Sam closed the door behind him.

Tears welled in the hunter's eyes; that was it, he was now alone. Switching off the television he sat looking towards the dusted window.

Sam walked down the street trying to justify to himself that he was doing the right thing but not once looking back.

Dean blew out a breath, and looked around the room; this was going to be his life now, a hunt and then sitting alone in some bad excuse for a motel room.

As Sam's walk continued to the bus stop his mind was working overtime, he suddenly stopped and did an about turn but stopped again and turned back shaking his head "its better this way."

Suddenly there was a knock on the door, Dean jumped up with a smile on his face "Sam?"

As the door was opened and before Dean could even register what was going on, two burly ugly looking men burst through, catching him off guard.

Sam sat waiting for his bus fidgeting, looking up and down the street. As soon as he had walked out of the door his mind questioned his decision. He may have told Dean he wanted his 'college boy' life back previously but after finally banishing his mom's killer from this earth, he now wasn't sure if his life was actually that of the hunter his brother wanted him to be. "Damn it Dean" he got up, smiled, and made his way back.

Dean rolled across the floor and jumped back up into a fighting stance. "Now come on guys, that's not very lady like." he quipped raising his eyebrows.

They said nothing.

"Great, no sense of humor." Dean spurted out as he roundhouse kicked one and ducked a punch from the other, throwing out a returning strike that connected with the other ugly guy's ribs. Dean reflected for a moment as he had a feeling that punch hurt his knuckles more than it's intended victim "what the hell are you guys made of, brick?" he had no time to finish as he was cracked in the face with an upper cut. It sent him flying, crashing down on the table in the centre of the room.

Landing with an umph Dean tried to shake off the hurt "oh now I'm pissed," he pointed at his attackers in turn "ok Bert and Ernie I'm now going to kick your asses."

Going at Bert first he tried a front kick, but Ernie wasn't having any of it, he grappled Dean and threw him with great ease into the wall.

Trying to recover, Dean got back up coughing, the wind knocked out of him he was still adamant he could take them, or at least fight his way passed them to the door.

"You muppets don't play fair do you?" he said spitting out a mouthful of blood.

Bert and Ernie just stood with no real expression on their faces, Dean smirked at the irony.

Dean finally thought better of his attack plan, not wanting another meeting with the wall and he needed to recover a little so staying where he was, was the next plan. Leaning with his hands on his knees, he tried to catch his breath.

His attackers didn't seem too impressed though as Ernie this time started to come at him. Dean quickly lifted his right hand in the air as a stop gesture "wooah, not ready yet," he said in jest.

But ugly guy Ernie just kept coming.

Pushing himself to stand Dean braced himself for impact.

The pair of them went smashing down into the chair, turning it up. Bert joined in by wrapping the cord from the table lamp around Dean's neck, pulling it tighter sending him slowly and painfully into darkness.

With ease Dean was picked up and thrown over Ernie's shoulder, out the door and they were gone.


Sam took in a deep breath, approaching the door, he thought best if he knocked. Raising his arm to tap on the door, he realized the door was already open. Hairs stood up on the back of his neck, fear spreading throughout his body. Dropping his bag he went into hunter mode, slowly opening the door "Dean" he softly called out. His eyes widen as he looked at the trashed room.

Moving quickly Sam scanned around; there was no sign of Dean.

"Shit!" he was getting frantic as something caught his eye, reaching down he picked up the item, horror spreading across his face, flipping it over into his hand he cupped Dean's pendant in his palm.



"It's not over yet," she said handing her visitor his drink.

"I know, there will always be something to hunt, I'm just relieved we won the last fight," he smiled briefly before sipping his coffee.

"That's not what I'm talking about."

John looked at the woman across from him with concern "What's up Missouri?"

"I got this feeling I can't shake, your boy is in trouble" she sighed "I feel like they are coming for him."


"I'm talking about Dean. There's an evil coming his way, maybe this is the one?"

John was taken aback "Dean? No, it can't be time?"

"Well it would make sense, there's so many demons walking this earth recently something is definitely brewing, I thought you boys had ended it killing that beast but I fear that was just the beginning."

"They'll be resting up, I'll get them to come here if that's okay with you, Dean needs to be protected while we get in contact with Azlem, we're going to need all the help we can get, we'll find him if it's time" John was just about to dial when his phone started ringing "it's Sam" he said surprised.

"Dad its Dean, here's gone" came the frantic voice at the other end.

John almost dropped the cell as he stood up taking in the news "what do you mean, gone?"

Missouri joined John in standing up, concern spreading across her face.

"I'd only left him for about half an hour, when I got back the room was trashed and he was gone."

John stroked the top of his head, for all his experience of dealing with strange goings-on his mind suddenly went blank.

"Dad it gets worst, I've got his pendant!"

"Sam I'm coming, where are you?" John grabbed a pen and started jotting down the details "okay kiddo sit tight, we're on our way" he disconnected the call and then turned to Missouri "it is time!"


His head rolled as his eyes slowly began to flicker open, his senses were slowly awakening to a world of hurt. A sickly acid taste rising to his mouth, mixed with blood forcing him to cough, it sent his whole body rolling this time with his head. Groaning as he felt the sting on his back where he had impacted the table, fragments of the wood had imbedded themselves into his skin.

Trying to find something to focus on he reached up to feel his face, his chin warm to the touch and slightly swollen brought back memories of that upper cut, he was at least thankful for not having a glass-jaw that would have smashed into pieces. Swallowing, he felt his throat protest, the two red burn marks that graced his neck was a reminder why, a table lamp cable was the culprit as it denied him his vital oxygen before it took his consciousness.

Blood oozed freely out of a few cuts and scratches, one in particular just above his right eye and a couple on his arm looked like he'd been attacked by a cheese grater! He had no idea where he was, but he felt alone.


Sam waited outside the room for his dad and Missouri to arrive, he mind playing over and over what had happened, cursing himself each time for leaving. He turned to look in the room again his eyes closing, imagining what could have happened to Dean and fearing the absolute worst. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the pendant, he recalled speaking to his dad at the hospital after Dean had been knifed in the chest at Annabelle's house…

"Sam, find out where Dean's pendant is and get it back to him." John ordered.

"Yes sir." Sam responded with a nod.

"He is NOT to be without it, you understand me!" the ex-marine calmly stated.

"Yes sir," Sam answered somewhat confused "why?"

"A man called Azlem gave it to him, he said he has to have it with him at all times, an evil will come Dean's way and it will protect him from it."

"What evil? When?" Sam questioned wanting the same answers as John had wanted back when Dean was sixteen.

"I don't know, but one day it will happen," John put a hand on his son's shoulder "get the pendant"

Sam was brought back to the present with the sound of his father's truck approaching, standing upright he waited to greet him.

"Is this it?" John questioned his son as he closed the truck door.

"Yes sir." Sam replied stepping out the way as his father entered the room.

"Hello Sam." Missouri met the young Winchester with a smile.

"Hey" Sam managed to smile back, trying hard not to show his guilt about leaving Dean.

"Missouri" John called from inside the room.

She walked passed Sam, sensing his pain she placed a hand on his arm "we'll find him"

Missouri watched as John picked up the chair setting it upright in the trashed room.

"There must have been a hell of a fight" John looked to Missouri for answers.

"I don't sense evil here, not like I have" she moved around the room feeling the furniture as she went "there were two men, mean, strong, ugly too I bet" she slightly chuckled before taking a serious tone "they took your boy."

"We need to find Azlem" John began to say but was interrupted by Sam.

"Azlem? You've mentioned him, who is he?"

John looked to Missouri, who nodded her approval "It was Dean's sixteenth birthday, you were staying with Missouri and all he wanted to do was go out on a hunt with me. I couldn't say no, it was only meant to an easy job…"

"You ready kiddo?" John asked as they approached the forest.

"Sure Dad, I'm ready" the young excited Dean Winchester said confidently, although his hands told a different story, his palms sweating in anticipation.

John glanced at his son, a small proud grin developing on his face "don't make a sound, we don't want to scare the little fella"

Dean nodded in reply just as he stood on a twig, the loud crack stopping him in his tracks. He got a clip around the ear for his actions, a hurt look spreading across his face as his dad raised his eyebrows to him.

"Sorry" he said remorsefully only to have his dad smile in jest to him.

Dean shook his head, shaking away the mock pain. John raised his eyes to the sky, his son was definitely a character.

Suddenly John became serious "Shhhh" he had noticed the movement in the undergrowth as they moved further into the forest. Making movements with his hands he silently directed Dean to circle around.

'Like catching a snake' Dean reminded himself and slowly moved off to the left.

John kept his eyes fixed to the location waiting for Dean to make his way round to be opposite him. Patiently he waited for the signal that his son was in position; trouble was it didn't seem to be coming anytime soon.

John was getting concerned, he knew Dean was becoming an expert hunter but it was totally unlike him to take so long, it could only mean something was wrong.

The little Imp they were chasing hadn't moved, if anything he was mocking the Winchesters by blatantly rummaging around with a 'catch me if you can' attitude. John finally took his eyes away, Dean's welfare was more important than catching the Imp that had been running riot in the local village.

Stealthy he walked amongst the trees, his eyes constantly scanning the area, tracking his son. Stopping, he took in the sound of chanting in the distance, a knot suddenly developing in his stomach 'Dean'.

Getting closer he could make out the figure slightly crouching, John put his marine training to good use and made his way for a better look. Coming around his heart missed a beat as he saw Dean sitting with his arms wrapped round his legs, sitting behind the figure.

John pulled the knife out that was strapped to his leg, ready to take on his son's foe. Slowly he made his way to attack.

"You have nothing to gain by killing me"

John looked stunned, as the figure dressed in a brown robe turned to face him.

"Dad" Dean said sheepishly.

"What the hell?" John said as Dean gripped his legs harder, fearing his dad's reaction.

"I mean you or your son no harm, you have been brought here to prepare for the future, it is my duty to help you, I am Azlem" he bowed towards John.

"Help? Help with what?" John asked as he carefully replaced his knife, sensing the old looking man in front of him was no fret.

"Your son has been chosen, he holds great power and it is foreseen he will accomplice much. I have been sent to ensure he is guarded until the time is right"

Dean looked to the ground, he had already spoken to Azlem and didn't know how his dad would take the news.

"You're kidding me right? He's just a kid, what the hell could he be chosen for?" John looked to Dean and then back to Azlem for the answer.

"You did not choose this path, you fight for revenge, perhaps justice. But he will fight because that is who he is, you are teaching him well and you must continue so. But when the time comes, he will have choose his destiny, he will have to fight alone" Azlem spoke softly and was sincere with his words.

John once again turned to Dean, who briefly returned the look "When the time comes? I don't understand"

"I'm afraid evil does not work to time, but you will know when" the robed man glanced at Dean "he has something that will protect him until the time is right"

John looked at Dean, who opened his hand to show his dad the pendant he was given.

"He must keep it with him at all times, it will be his protection. Trouble will come his way, but he will remain strong" Azlem said with confidence "you should take your son home now"

"What about you and the Imp we were chasing?" John asked.

Azlem laughed "that little fella still causing mischief? I will speak to him" he nodded.

John done a double look, not quite sure it he heard right but he didn't question the man as Dean got to his feet.

Azlem bowed once again to John before turning and placing his hands on Dean's shoulders, looking him straight in the eyes and out of earshot from his father "remember what I told you and carry that pendant at all times, you will need to be ready"

Dean nodded "yes sir"

"Go now, we will meet again" Azlem patted Dean on the shoulders as a farewell.

Dean held the pendant tightly in his hand as he joined his dad.

John turned to bid Azlem goodbye but unsurprisingly he was already gone. Wrapping his arm around his son's shoulders he said with certainty "You do what he says Dean, keep that pendant with you, it will keep you safe…"

"Dad, if the pendant was to protect him?" Sam said shocked that there was still so many things he didn't know about his family.

"I know son, we need to find him" came the sobered answer.


"Where the hell am I?" Dean had to question himself as there was apparently no-one else around in the dimly lit room. He slowly and with great pain rose to his feet, attentively looking round to find the source of the light. "Oh this is just great" he huffed as he made out the single candle burning away in the far corner. Taking in a deep breath to prepare himself for the journey to fetch it, his body trembled just at the thought of having to move even an inch. "Son of a bitch" he cried out as he cradled his damaged ribs from the slightest of movements.

Dean made his unsteady way to the nearest wall for support, he had no idea his efforts were being watched by a seamless form lurking in the shadows. Feeling along the damp stone wall Dean cursed at the position he was in, he had no idea where he was, how he got there and perhaps even worst, why he was there.

Picking up the candle, Dean quickly had to change hands as the hot wax burned onto his skin "ouch" he screwed up his face as he blew on his fingers.

"Surely that didn't hurt a big strong hunter like you?"

Dean turned to see where the English sounding voice came from.

Out of the shadows came the seamless form of a woman, her hair jet black immaculate against her pale skin. She was wearing a red flowing dress, her beauty taking Dean aback.

"Now where did you come from?" he asked turning on the charm.

"You're worst nightmare" she responded with a smile.

Dean cast her an uncertain look as she threw out her arm in his direction. Her action sending him flying across the room with ease, a chilling crack sounded out as he crashed down with a thud. He rolled a couple of times before ending up lying on his back, his eyes closed, and his consciousness taken yet again.


"We need to find Azlem" Missouri said turning to her friend "John I will go, you two need to track Dean"

John nodded in acceptance "be careful" he said as she made her way to the door.

Missouri turned to him and smiled "of course I will" before taking a hold of Sam's hand "and you, don't worry we will find him, it's going to be okay you hear me"

Sam slowly nodded back "take care".

Missouri patted their joined hands "trust in yourself" she winked at him and left. Sam held a puzzled look as the door closed behind the psychic.

"You okay?" John asked.

"Yes sir" Sam automatically responded, wiping the expression of his face "what now?"

"We track your brother like she said, they'll be clues everywhere, start looking outside" John ordered.

Sam resisted saying 'yes sir' again but followed his dad's instruction.


"Your time is almost up" Dean heard the English woman's words as he gradually came back to the world "your sacrifice will be worthwhile"

"Sacrifice?" Dean muttered, his mind remembering back to the conversation he had with Azlem in the forest before his father came…

"What do you mean?" Dean asked confused.

"There will be an evil force trying to come to this world as we know it; its only intent will be to destroy all that is good. You have been chosen to stop this from happening; you are a special young man. Do not be afraid, you are destined for great things but you must remain strong and focused. Take this with you; you will need it when the time is right. They will tempt you with power, with immortality, anything for you to join them but you must resist, the pendant will help. I am not telling you this to scare you as I have been sent to help, and if there is one warning I can give you it is this… you will have to choose and the choice you make will be either the end or the beginning"

"The end or the beginning of what, what should I choose?" Dean looked down at the pendant.

"I'm afraid I cannot answer that, but you will know. Stay strong and keep the pendant safe. Do not be a sacrifice for evil for that is when it will be free"

Dean gasped and grabbed at his chest reaching for the pendant, he knew it was his time. Drawing in a panicked breath, he forgot about his pain for a moment as he tried to locate his necklace. It wasn't there!


John's fear for his eldest son's safety was growing stronger; they had spent nearly two hours searching for clues to his whereabouts and had come up with nothing.

"Dad?" Sam called out.

"What you found son?" John asked as he quickly made his way outside.

"Dad?" Sam called again, his voice somewhat weaker.

"Sammy?" John became concerned as to what his young son had possibly found.

Having stepped outside he was surprised to see Sam just standing there. "Sam what the hell is it?" John was miffed that his son was actually just staring into space rubbing his head.

"Dad I've seen him" Sam turned to look at his father, his face ashen.

"What are you talking about?"

"I had a vision; he was lying on the ground. Dad he wasn't moving" Sam was almost in tears.

John didn't seem troubled by what his son had just said, instead he wanted to know more "Son, what else did you see, where was he?"

Sam shook his head "I don't know" he said as a single tear ran down his face.

"Maybe I can help."

"Azlem?" John for a moment turned away from Sam to greet the man he had meet a long time ago, and one he noted hadn't changed a bit in all those years. "It's good to see you"

Sam wiped his eyes to see Azlem smile back "you too have a gift, one we must use now to help your brother, come" Azlem still dressed in a brown robe guided everyone back into the room.

"You know he doesn't have the pendant" John quickly stated.

"Yes" Azlem replied, his face showing his concern "may I have it?"

Sam reached into his pocket and pulled it out, without question he handed it to the old man.

"Excuse me a moment" Azlem bowed and went outside.

Missouri watched him from the window as he knelt down in the dirt. Drawing a symbol on the ground, one of which she hadn't seen before, Azlem placed the pendant in the centre of it. Raising his hands up to the sky he began to chant.

John stared at the open door and remembered back to when he had heard that chant before. It had been the time he took Dean to capture the imp but instead met the man outside. Images of his young scared vulnerable son graced his memory; he could only now imagine what was happening to him.


"Don't worry I won't kill you" the woman laughed "well, not yet anyway"

"Who are you?" Dean asked pushing himself up into a sitting position, his face screwing up in agony as he looked to the ground to see if his pendant had just fallen off.

"I'm known as Arlene, and I'm here to make sure you are ready" she walked up to Dean and stroked his bloodied face "you will be ready"

"For what?" Dean pulled his face away in disgust, trying to ignore the shooting pain that ripped his body.

"For your destiny, you are after all the gateway. Without you my master will not be able to come into this world. Although your sacrifice will obviously be rewarded" Arlene chuckled as she watched Dean eye her suspiciously "I can offer you whatever you want"

"Oh yeah, I always wanted a Transformer" Dean quipped as he got painfully to his feet.

"Your humor is refreshing"

Dean smirked "you know there is such a thing as electricity too" he waved his hand in the air as the single candle was still the only light source.

"Enough" Arlene demanded "join us and you will never have to worry about such pointless human needs"

"And what if I don't want to?" Dean asked trying to make out an exit.

"You will die" Arlene stated "and I will make sure you suffer"

"Then I really have to consider what you got to offer me" Dean said turning on the charm yet again.

"You are wise not to resist" Arlene strode majestically over to the injured hunter "I can give you immortality, power beyond your dreams"

"You can give me all that, hell I bet you can do more" Dean was buying into her words, believing perhaps he would be better off actually joining the dark side.

"You will have to meet the master, but you will have no pain and your fragile human body will be made strong and indestructible"

"You promise so much, and all I have to do is meet the master?" Dean seemed to enjoy the closeness of the beautiful woman, her hands running over his battered chest.

She pulled him closer, whispering in his ear "that's all, join us and live forever" Dean passionately turned his head to her, their cheeks meeting before he whispered back.

"Kiss my Kansas ass"


"I've finished" Azlem said as he entered back into the room "hopefully I have been able to give the boy the strength to resist whatever they use to tempt him to the dark side"

Sam knew then that Dean's future was so uncertain, and his purpose was so much more than anyone realized.

"We need to find him soon, Sam you maybe his only hope" Azlem beckoned the young Winchester to him "you need to use your gift, I will help you control it"

Sam looked at his dad and then to Azlem "I don't know how it happens it just does, I don't know if I can control it"

"Try son" John asked gesturing Sam to take a sit..

Sam sat next to Azlem "what do I do?"

"Relax, we must take it slow" Azlem's voice was calm and reassuring "close your eyes and breathe in through your nose, out of your mouth"

Sam leaned back into the chair, his eyes closed as instructed as he controlled his breathing.

"Empty your mind, forget your worries, think of Dean as being safe and well, you must relax" Azlem continued to assist Sam into a hypnotic state, ensuring he has the ability to reach his brother. A brother who was out there somewhere and who was hopefully still alive.


Sam let out another breath, his eyes oblivious to the concern being shown by his father and their friend Missouri. Azlem was helping to focus his mind, the young Winchester perhaps getting closer to helping his brother.

"What do you see?" Azlem's words were barely a whisper.

Sam's forehead wrinkled, trying to see into the unknown.

"It's just dark," Sam slightly shook his "I don't see anything."

"Don't force it. Just relax. Look deep inside, feel for your brother," were the last words Azlem could say before Sam's face suddenly screwed up.

"Argh" Sam reached up and rubbed his temples, the sting of a vision etched across his face.


"You're pathetic!" Arlene screamed as she pushed Dean back.

"Really?" Dean huffed with a sarcastic grin and an arm gasping at his damaged ribs "And I thought I was just a wise-ass!"

Arlene's temper was boiling up inside, "I should kill you now; but I now want to see your suffering and what it will bring!"

"Yeah I bet you would." Dean answered in a more serious tone; the realization that his 'destiny' was coming sooner rather than later.

Arlene began to walk away but turned back to look Dean in the eyes with a wicked grin, "I would get rest if I were you, and don't try to leave, you are bound here until the masters arrival."

"Great!" Dean said as he then watched the vixen disappear down what appeared to be a tunnel craved out of the stone, then it and she were gone. "This is some mess up crap."


"Church? Graveyard? Dark?" Sam winced as images flashed into his mind "Evil! Oh God! Dean!"

"Sammy?" John stepped forward but was stopped in his tracks by Missouri, who slowly shook her head at him.

"Lawrence!" Sam's eyes shot open and gasped "He's in Lawrence."

John looked puzzled "Lawrence? Are you sure?"

Sam simply nodded the reply.

"We've got to hurry" Azlem stated "there can't be much time left."


"Nice one Dean!" he winced as he rested against the wall talking to himself. "Why couldn't you be something simple like an accountant, but noooo, you got to be some kind of superman whose destiny is to save the world from evil!"

Dean's unease was obvious, yes he was a master hunter, a skilled fighter, but he had no idea how he was going to win against an unknown evil. Even if his body was in fine working order, which is was not, he didn't have the one thing Azlem told him to keep safe… the pendant. "I'm so screwed!"


Azlem shuffled in his seat, catching the eye of John as he was driving, "you okay?"

Sam and Missouri, seating in the rear, both drew their eyes to the old man for the answer as he continued to fidget.

"Just a second," reaching into his robe Azlem found what he was looking for. Staring at the pendant and then to John, concern filled his eyes.

"What? What is it?" Sam asked edging forward in his seat; his stomach turning at the thought of what could be happening to Dean.

Missouri peered over Azlem's shoulder, "is that thing glowing?"

"This is not good," Azlem stated as the pendant had a white radiance to it as it swung from his hand.

"What do you mean, Azlem you're not telling me everything here." John slammed on the brakes and pulled the truck over "what the hell is going on? I know Dean's in trouble but you need to tell us more!"

Azlem took in a deep breath and began "I am a descendant of a very powerful priest; he was the first to fight this evil, many, many hundreds of years ago. Knowing it would try and return he made this," he gently fingered the pendant into John's view. "A sign of good and evil it was to be given to the man of destiny. Many years it has traveled in my family until it came to me and I found its new owner."

"Dean?" Sam almost laughed at the thought of Dean being the one they have searched for, for hundreds of years!

"So you're a priest?" Missouri interrupted.

"No. I am a messenger. It has been told through my generations we would know the man as a boy and the pendant would be the key. John, when I met your son in the woods that day, the pendant told me he was the one. I am sure the pendant is behaving in this way because the time is getting closer. We must continue on."

"Why can't you use the pendant to help him, like you did before?" Sam questioned, stopping John from starting the engine again. He looked at Azlem for the answer, hoping there was something he could do to help his son. Guilt perhaps surfacing because he had never found more out about the pendant or Dean's purpose, he didn't really even question it.

"That was a protection spell; I wasn't using or even could use the power of the pendant. I just needed something of Dean's to identify him; it could have been his watch, ring, it just so happens we got the pendant." Azlem sighed. "That protection spell will hold out for sometime I'm sure, but we really must get this to Dean; he is the only one who can use its power if he is to stop the evil that is coming."

"Can I see it?" Sam asked reaching out for the pendant.

"Of course." Azlem turned and placed the pendant in the palm of the young Winchester's hand.

"ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH" Sam screamed as soon as the pendant touched him.. Grasping the pendant he raised his hands to his eyes, immense pain burned in his head behind his eyes, "DEAN!"

John was out of his seat reaching to his son "Sammy, Sammy you hear me son? What's wrong?"

Images once again flashed into Sam's mind, images of Dean, hurt, screaming, desperate. "NO" he gasped "no, no, DEAN!"

John cradled his son's head the best he could, although he was practically in the back seat he was still in an awkward position.

Missouri reached over and patted Sam on the leg, her senses working overtime. A single tear ran down her face as she turned from the young man to stare out of the window, the look of the young Winchester in pain too much to bare.

Sam let out a small cough; the images were gone, replaced by a throbbing headache.

"You okay?" John hesitated to ask.

"Yeah dad, but we got to get to Dean. He's hurting. Dad, I don't think we got much longer." Sam barely managed to say, before handing the pendant back to Azlem and rubbing his temples to ease the pain.

John's reply was to jump back into his seat and start the engine. Checking his son through the mirror he quickly pulled away, they were not going to waste anymore time getting to his eldest.


Looking round the cave, at least that is where he thought he was, Dean saw no sign of an exit. He had even tried to go down the 'tunnel' he saw Arlene disappear down, but it just wasn't there. "You got to be kiddin' me! This is so messed up!"

Checking his injuries for the umpteenth time, he knew he had cracked ribs, and although the swelling on his face hadn't gone down any, at least the cuts had dried up. Rubbing his bruised neck, Dean contemplated on what the hell he was going to do.

"Ok so one, I'm talking to myself again," sarcasm just seemed to flow from his mouth, "two, I'm still screwed, three, I've got no idea how I'm going to get myself out of this, four, Sammy's probably sitting in some student bar place having the time of his life, five, I'm still talking to myself, six, dad is.." He suddenly stopped and sighed, looking down to the ground in thought, the realization his family wasn't there hit home, he was actually alone.

That possibly hit him harder than any punch could. Slowly with his back against the wall, he slid down to a sitting position. Emotions overwhelming him he began to sob. What the hell was he going to do, how the hell was he going to fight some frigging evil and save the world? His elbows rested on his knees as his hands cradled his face. The sarcasm gone, surely he wasn't thinking about giving up?


Sam stared out the window, the trees a blur as his mind tried to focus on his brother. They were were getting closer to Lawrence but it was still going to seem like a lifetime to get there. He had no idea what to expect when they got to the church, and he tried not to think about the visions he had of Dean, motionless, bleeding, perhaps even dead.

John looked in the rear-view mirror only to see the anguished look on his young son's face. He turned his eyes back to the road, only to see Dean's face in his mind. A sense of dread ripped through his heart, his boy was out there all alone, injured, and facing the unthinkable. Tears welled in his eyes, he loved his son but was he going to regret never telling him so.

"There's still time," Missouri spoke before realizing her words.

John gave her a quick glance and firmly said "I know!"

She felt a little uncomfortable; reading the Winchester men right now was like reading a book. She sensed Sam's guilt, heartache, and fear for his brother; John though was a mush of emotions, one after the other they bombarded her… remorse, dread, anxiety, loss, hatred, love, the list went on and on.


Dean sniffed. Drawing snot up his nose like his was a five year-old he couldn't help but chuckle "God if anyone could see me now!" Wiping his nose against his sleeve, he sat for a moment taking in a few measured breaths.

"Well Dean, this is it, whatever the hell it is, you're doing it alone."

"Awww feeling afraid and all alone are we?" the voice came out of the shadows.

"Bite me!" Dean huffed as he got to his feet again.

"Don't tempt me, I just might!" Arlene walked into his view from nowhere, smiling.

"Why don't you just kill me now, this waiting is really starting to piss me off." Dean said, shocked by his own defeatist words.

"You know I can't do that… However much I want to." Arlene gave Dean a look up and down, "you're the key, without that blood flowing through your veins you're no good to my master whether you join us or not."

"So he really needs me alive? That must be really pissing you off right now!" Dean gave her the biggest grin you could imagine. "I was thinking about ending it all."

Arlene looked at him suspiciously, "you'll do well to curb that tongue of yours!"

It took all he had to resist saying 'make me', starting a fight right now wouldn't help him one bit! "Tell me, when is this low almighty gracing us with his presence?"


"Soon, as in, in a minute soon, or soon as in, whenever the hell he likes soon?" Dean's rough voice emphasized the point.


Dean raised his eyebrows beckoning for more; he has a way of saying so much without saying a word.

"Not everything is in place." Arlene said somewhat frustrated at just giving up information.

"State the obvious! I'm here, hmmm let me hazard a guess who's not." Sarcasm just rolled out.

Arlene laughed "you have no idea do you?"

Dean looked a little hurt by that comment, "don't I?" he questioned.

"Where's you're pendant?" Dean instantly brought his hand up to his chest, "not there is it?"

"Give it back!"

Arlene laughed again "I don't have it, but I know it's coming!"

Before Dean could even open his mouth, she was gone. "What the.." he started but didn't finish.


The Impala roared into Lawrence, getting closer John hoped they were not going to be late to help Dean. "Where now, which church?" he asked, hoping someone in the car had the answer.

"The church, the other side of town," Sam's words were cold, John sensed his young son didn't want to go any further for fear of what they might find.

"He'll be okay Sammy," he said looking through the rearview mirror at his youngest. The words he had been telling himself for all of the journey there.

Azlem turned to Sam and smiled softly. Sam in return half smiled back before turning away.


Dean's mind was racing, 'if she didn't have it, how the hell does she know it's coming, who the hell is bringing it, those two ugly muppets wouldn't have picked it up, they didn't look like the brightest bulb in the box, why do I feel better, who has it, maybe no one has, maybe it's a test, does she know what the pendant's for, maybe it's about the pendant and not me.. hopefully, wait, maybe….' The candle flickered distracting the hunter from his thoughts.

He stretched out, his ribs had eased off hurting him as much, and his face felt cooler to touch. "That's just weird" he said as he bent over with ease to touch his toes. Now poking at his ribs, Dean looked totally confused. "Why the hell doesn't that hurt?"

Quickly realizing the less he gave away about his improving condition, the better. What Arlene didn't know, could hurt her!


The car pulled up outside of the church. A church that looked like it hadn't seen a congregation for many years, with its grounds only occupied by the local wildlife. It was uninviting to say the least; John looked to Azlem to check he too was getting out the car.

"This is it." Sam stared at the building in front of him, blindly closing the car door, "Dean's here."

"Okay kiddo, let's get what we need." John went to the trunk; they were going to need their arsenal to deal with, to deal with whatever the hell is behind those doors with his son!


The ground beneath his feet started to noticeably shake "What the hell?"

"More like, what IN hell!" Arlene laughed "he's coming."

Dean felt his stomach flip, he had no idea what was going to happen or what he was supposed to do. Was this the beginning of the end?


Sam just wanted to get to his brother. He had seen terrible visions of Dean; he needed to know how 'real' they were. Yes, he had a feeling his brother was still alive, he wanted, no needed, to be sure.

Dean, savior of the world? He had to be alive for that right?


There was no response.

"Sam?" John raised his voice with concern.

Sam looked up, "I'm good, let's go."

Azlem checked he had the pendant for the umpteenth time; he was the one to get it back to its owner. In doing so he knew he had the protection of the Winchesters, but they were running out of time. Any moment now the world as we know it would end…


Dean was sure the ground was groaning, he moved around trying to see where the noise was coming from.

Arlene stood watching him, intrigued by his behavior. It was like he was dancing for the devil. How apt. Watching her master draw the life out of this specimen was going to be the highlight of her thousand years.

Dean, his back now to Arlene, couldn't help but smirk. He felt strong, he felt like nothing on this earth could stop him. Power seemed to flow through his veins, and before she knew it, Arlene was grabbed, knocked off her feet and pinned to the floor.

Grinning from ear to ear, the young hunter suddenly let his capture go. "Is this how it's going to feel?"

"If you join us, it would be a hundred times better. You would be a god amongst those on this forsaken earth. Master will be pleased you are joining us, there is no sense in fighting it."

"Will I die?" Dean plainly asked.

"You mean from the person in front of me? Yes. But I told you, what you get in return…"

"I know, I know. God I feel good. What happens now?" Dean was practically buzzing with enthusiasm.

"You'll find out soon." Arlene turned to stare at an area of the wall, the young hunter turning to look.

The wall started to shimmer, and then images appeared.

"Sammy? Missouri? Azlem?" Dean was confused "Dad?" what the hell was happening.

"Don't get too excited, they've only been allowed to come to bring your pendant."

"They're here?" Dean asked not taking his eyes of the images in front of him. "But…"

Laughter erupted, and the wall returned to normal. "I'll be back."

Dean stood alone, his mind racing 'they came. Sammy's not in school? Dad and Azlem, how did they..? Missouri must have? Sammy's not in school!?'

His fight now wasn't alone, but did this change anything. Was he going to fulfill a destiny, was he going to make the right decision. If he had all the power they had promised he could make sure his family was okay.

The battle had started already within this young man.


The door to the old church creaked slowly open. Cautiously they entered one by one, Sam and John holding their weapons ready.

Missouri holding on tight to the lead piping she had picked up on the way, she had swung it a couple of times to check its whacking potential. "No fool had better cross me today!" she said sternly. John and Sam shared a look.

Azlem felt the floor shake, the dust shifting in the church that had been settled for many years. "This is it." He quietly said.

They continued on to the front of the church, the altar had been vandalized, by who or what they wasn't sure, it lay it two shattered pieces, particularly split down the middle.

John had so many questions on how the church was now the centre of all things evil, but they would have to wait, his son was his first priority.

Approaching the altar the appearance of black smoke came upon them.


Dean hated the wait; his usual gung ho style was being affected. His mind was in turmoil, should he join the dark side? Wouldn't that be the easiest option, he wasn't going to be able to beat the devil after all? He was good but not that good! With the power Arlene had promise him he'd be able to take care of his family but what of the rest of the world? He had to win, didn't he?


The smoke made itself into a form, John aimed his gun.

Laughter erupted, "it's not even worth trying it." And with a wave of her hand, John's gun flew across the church.

Missouri gripped the pipe; Arlene instantly turned to her and shook her head slowly.

"Welcome, I trust you all had a pleasant journey?" she smiled.

"Where's Dean?" Sam snapped at her.

"He's here." She simply replied before turning to John, "so you're the daddy." Looking John up and down, "not bad."

"Where's my son!?" John demanded to know.

Ignoring the question, Arlene next directed her attention to Azlem. "Well aren't you old" she said making her way over to him, "not as old and as good looking as me though".

Azlem stared at her "you must be the one they call Arlene." He didn't look impressed, but Arlene on the other hand took that he knew who she was as a compliment.

"So my reputation precedes me. Interesting." She said as she grabbed at Azlem.

John, Sam and even Missouri went to 'help' but were stopped dead in their tracks. "You guys have no idea who I am, do you? Take my advice, don't push me, just be thankful I'm letting you stay alive to see the end of this pitiful world that you know!"

Turning back to Azlem, she took hold of his clenched hand. "Let me see" she demanded as the old man tried to pull his hand away. "NOW!" With that Azlem slowly opened up his hand, the pendant becoming visible. Arlene went to grab it but instantly screamed out.

Azlem smiled "guess it doesn't like you!"

"That will teach you, you stupid bitch. Now tell us where Dean is or we'll string that round your neck!" Missouri hammered down the end of the pipe onto the floor to emphasis her point.

Arlene was unimpressed and sent Missouri flying across the church. "I told you not to push me!"

Missouri landed with a thud, a couple of pews breaking her flight. She was out cold. The men looked with concern but stayed where they were, they couldn't risk the same fate.

"You want to know where Dean is?" Arlene was getting pissed, "let me show you!" The area in between the altar started to shimmer much like the wall before. It was dark at first but slowly the image of Dean began to appear.

"Dean?" Sam whispered.

They watched as they saw the young Winchester pacing back and forth. Mumbling something they couldn't quite make out.

Arlene laughed, "Do you really want to know what he's saying?"

John looked at her.

"He's going to join us, he's just trying to work out a way to protect you. But we know that's not going to happen now don't we. He's convinced himself that his only option is to give himself freely to the master, no fight, no nothing, Boring I know but we'll have plenty of time to make up for the fun. You'll see…"


Dean was ready, he knew what he had to do, what he always had to do… protect his family. He just didn't like the option he had to do it. How can you justify joining the dark side, there was no way he could resist the man down stairs but what he had been promised he knew he would at least be able to look after his brother, father and the few friends he had. The power he had been promised and how he was feeling was making him believe he was becoming invincible. Maybe afterwards he could find a way to get the better of satan! After all, having satan roam our land was not the best option in the world, but it seemed like his only one. He was only Dean Winchester, no one special.


"Well I had fun, but enough of this, time is running out and I need that thing to get to that thing." Arlene smirked pointing from the pendant to Dean's image.

"You can't touch it, bring Dean here and we'll give it to him." Sam offered, hoping.

As Dean's imaged disappeared Arlene responded "you're sweet. Foolish. But sweet."

"So take us to him" John growled.

"Just him." She turned to Azlem "Deliver your message old timer." And with that Azlem was gone.

"Get ready!" Arlene's laughter echoed as she too just vanished.

"Dad?" questioned in one simple word.

John walked over to Missouri answering "it's gonna be okay Sammy," he lied, "come help me."


Azlem wasn't a man to swear, but right now he sure felt like it. He was somewhere underground he thought, not far from Dean but he couldn't really make out anything. It was dark, not pitch black, but his eyesight was still adjusting. The pendent was buzzing, it seemed to know its owner was close.

The floor shook again, a rumble coming from the depths.

"Dean." He called out. There was no response.


Dean was still pacing, this was definitely the most uncomfortable time of his life. As the floor beneath him shook again, he was sure he heard his name. 'Great' he thought 'he knows my name.' And with that he erupted with laughter. Oh course he knew his name, what did he think, he'd get there and go 'oh my mistake, I thought you were Jason, but you're Dean you say, oh well guess I'll have to put killing every living being on this earth off till we find this Jason fellow.'


The young Winchester was brought back, wiping a tear away he stared at Azlem. He looked confused, his face blank but you could see his mind working like mad trying to register who was in front of him.

"Azlem," he finally muttered, "is it really you?"

The man smiled and nodded, "yes son, I'm here to give you this."

Dean looked at the pendent, hesitate to take it.

"You know if I don't take it, nothing will happen right? No end of the world shit today! We can all go home for some pie, and have a drink or two?" Optimism, blatant optimism.

"Nothing is that simple" Azlem simply replied handing the item over.

"Just my luck" Dean softly answered. "My dad, brother…"

"They are okay, it is all you now. You must carry out your destiny, the decisions you make from now on.."

Dean cut Azlem off "yeah yeah, I get it, all rests on my shoulders, well as I see it, the only option I've got is to say yes and let him out. It's gonna happen anyway, at least with what they promised me I can have some sort of control of what happens. I put up a fight now, then I'm as good as dead as well as everyone else. You say this has to happen, then I got no choice!"

Dean saw it, Azlem's shoulders dropped, a sad sigh escaping the old man. "Remember, do not be a sacrifice for evil, for that is when it is…" "Free" Dean finished as Azlem, his words echoed around vanished into the darkness.

Dean looked down at the object in his hand. Taking in a deep breath, he placed in over his head. "Bring it!"